The RAC is predicting heavy traffic over the busy bank holiday weekend, with the organisation expecting more than 19.5 million leisure journeys to be made by car. The breakdown recovery company says its study of more than 1,400 drivers shows Friday, June 3, is likely to be the busiest day of the weekend.

On Friday, an estimated 3.6 million leisure trips will be made by car, following on from a predicted 3.3 million on Thursday, June 2. The Wednesday preceding the Jubilee (June 1) is also expected to be busy, with an estimated 2.6 million leisure trips forecast – the same number as are expected on Saturday, June 4. An additional five million drivers are expected to use their vehicles at some point over the five days from Wednesday to Sunday, creating even more congestion.

However, separate research by the RAC found more than a third (37 percent) of drivers plan to stay close to home over the bank holiday, with 11 percent of those claiming they will stay local due to high fuel prices. And a quarter (26 percent) said they would only head out if the weather turns out to be good.

Traffic on M6 motorway

Transport data experts at Inrix predict the worst traffic will be seen on the bank holiday mornings, and the company is advising drivers to either set off very early or delay trips until later in the day. The M25, southbound M5 and A303 are expected to be among the busiest routes, as is the A720 Edinburgh city bypass.

The RAC, meanwhile, is reminding drivers to check their vehicles before setting out after a separate study revealed less than a fifth (17 percent) of drivers regularly check oil, coolant and tyres before a long trip. Almost a quarter (23 percent) never check any of these things at all, while 59 percent say they only do so before some journeys.

Traffic jam

“Drivers clearly see a double bank holiday this close to the summer as a gift with millions eager to make the most of it,” said RAC traffic spokesperson Rod Dennis. “However, many appear keen to keep their car journeys short, perhaps mixing a day trip or two with a Jubilee celebration at home. The fact the bank holidays coincide with the end of half-term in many places has the potential to put some extra pressure on the road network, so planning a journey carefully is important to beat the worst of any queues.

“The best way for drivers to avoid breaking down this week is to check over their vehicles before setting out – yet our research shows less than a fifth do this routinely. Making sure oil, coolant and screenwash are all at the right levels takes just minutes, as does ensuring tyres are free of damage and are inflated properly. A bit of TLC now could make the difference between a straightforward trip and one beset by a breakdown.”